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Graduating Senior Stephon Otchere Lands Prestigious Internship Through the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership

Stephon Otchere

Graduating senior Stephon Otchere, finance major from Newark, NJ., is embarking on a career in hospitality. As a fellow of the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership at the Howard University School of Business, Otchere has traveled around the country visiting the headquarters and meeting the CEOs of some of the top hospitality companies. Upon graduation, he will be one of three people to begin a three-year rotational program at Pebblebrook Hotel Trust in Bethesda, Md.  He credits his experience at Howard with encouraging him and  building his self-confidence. 

“I’ve enjoyed my time at Howard because of the connections I’ve made. Everyone in the School of Business has such a strong network, but the environment isn’t competitive. Everybody is truly committed to lifting each other up and pushing each other to reach their full potential. That is one thing I really appreciate about my time here,” said Otchere. 

In his junior year, Otchere attended his first hospitality conference in Phoenix, an opportunity made possible through his involvement with the Marriott-Sorenson Center. Established in 2021 by a $20 million gift from The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, the center aims to build a more diverse and inclusive executive workforce within Marriott and the broader hospitality industry. 

Otchere says the experience opened his eyes to how expansive the hospitality industry is and helped him see his place in the industry. He was intrigued by the opportunity to pursue a career in finance while helping cultivate positive experiences for travelers. 

“The Marriott-Sorenson Center has provided me with an insane amount of access to executive talent. It allows us to be in rooms we were never in before and help us see that there are people in these spaces who want to see us reach the top as well,” said Otchere, adding that one highlight was meeting alumna Leslie Hale  (B.B.A.’94). Hale currently serves as vice chair of the Howard University Board of Trustees and is president and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust.  

“That meeting was very impactful because I was able to see someone who not only looked like me but attended my Alma Mater (and is) in a position of power in this industry.” 

The two years Otchere has spent at the Marriott-Sorenson Center helped him land his position at Pebblebrook Hotel Trust. He was introduced to the opportunity during a visit to its headquarters. After a tour of one of their properties, a meet and greet with company leadership, and six hours of interviews, among candidates from Cornell and the University of Michigan, Otchere will be the first Howard graduate in this program. As a financial analyst, he will work in the areas of asset management, corporate finance, and investing. 

As he moves forward in his career, Otchere wants to combine his passions for sports and investing. The entrepreneurship class he took during his senior year encouraged him to pursue building his own business. He hopes to start his own business to introduce NBA players to hotel investment.